Volunteering and dementia in Bristol

ContactBryony Campbell, Senior Services Manager
Telephone0117 3012610
AddressBritish Red Cross, Bradbury House, Caxton Business Park, 83 Tower Road North, Warmley, South Gloucestershire, BS30 8XP

Volunteering and dementia in BristolIn partnership with the Voluntary Sector and Local Authority this project will support people with dementia and their carers/family post diagnosis in Bristol, through volunteering. Working towards the concept of dementia friendly communities and ensuring people live well with dementia this support will be provided through a whole system approach from health and social care.

There is a case for change and a need to implement sustainable innovative ways of working that challenge traditional pathways as the demographics of people with dementia change. In Bristol it is expected that there will be a 23% increase in the number of people with dementia over the next 20 years. In order to meet this predicted increase, services will need to be commissioned to meet individuals’ needs and preferences, from within current funding, while at the same time improving quality and crucially delivering value for money. These services need to be evidence based and can be adopted and adapted to meet local needs in a practical way thereby creating a rich environment to improve outcomes and add genuine value.

Over the past two decades there has been a growing body of research that not only recognises the benefits of services provided by the voluntary sector but also acknowledges the strong relationship between volunteering and health. The following schemes, using volunteers and encouraging people with dementia to volunteer, will enhance the existing services portfolio and has a collaborative approach with health, social care and the voluntary sector, therefore supporting choice and independence for people with dementia and their carers/family.

Scheme 1: Reduction and prevention of isolation for people with dementia and their carers in Bristol
A collaborative approach with the Voluntary Sector to reduce and prevent isolation for people diagnosed with dementia and their carers/families by providing short term practical and emotional support following diagnosis and on an ad hoc basis thereafter, for people at risk of crisis and in order to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions or ill health. The scheme is designed to be person centered; treating people at all times with dignity and respect. It focuses on proven innovative ways to deliver support following diagnosis locally, using evidenced national practice. This will be provided by the Voluntary Sector, working across Health and Social Care and supports choice and independence. There are already two similar successful schemes currently in place in Bristol that provide volunteer led services to reduce inappropriate hospital admissions and support hospital discharge.

Scheme 2: Work with Voluntary Sector to encourage people with dementia to become volunteers
This scheme, led by Bristol City Council working alongside the Voluntary Sector, looks to encourage people with dementia to become volunteers. Positive improvements have been evidenced in terms of social well-being through social interactions at events, activities or more formally through befriending schemes or volunteering (both for the volunteer and the beneficiaries). Bristol City Council already commission or work with providers of volunteering services and they will begin to explore and embed the concept of people with dementia becoming volunteers. There are several organisations that currently deliver this kind of service, largely focused on people with Learning Disabilities or people with mental health issues; we will seek to replicate the models of practice and use the learning from these and other examples from other parts of the country.

Anticipated outcomes

For people with dementia and their carers:

  • Increased quality of life
  • Respite for carers
  • Reduction of isolation and loneliness
  • Increased mental and physical health
  • Increased feelings of confidence, and independence
  • Increased empowerment
  • Increased choice and control
  • Increased wellbeing
  • Increased access to existing support
  • Increased ability to access GP, hospital appointments and social meetings, efficiently and safely
  • Increased practical and emotional support
  • Increased ability to do things that were difficult or impossible before
  • Increase in carers ability to continue caring
  • Reduction in family breakdown
  • Improved skills for service users
  • Increased pride in the home

For the wider community

  • Increased community cohesion
  • Increase in social value
  • Increased volunteering opportunities
  • Stronger communities
  • Increased intergenerational cohesion
  • Increased future employment opportunities for volunteers
  • Increased expertise
  • Increased choice over level of participation
  • Increased choice over level of volunteering

Health and social care

  • Prevention of hospital admission or readmission
  • Reduced demand on Great Weston Ambulance Service
  • Reduced attendance at A&E
  • Reduced dependency on all health and social care services including avoidance of residential care
  • Increased capacity within healthcare systems
  • Increased partnership working
  • Reduction in social service referrals
  • Evidence that the service is good value for money

We expect the volunteering schemes to enable people to be able to confidently say the following:

  • My carer’s/family’s needs and concerns are considered and advice, support and help are available to them.
  • I am helped to understand what I need to know, and want to know about the support available to me and my carer/family.
  • I know who to contact for more information, guidance and support as my needs change.
  • I feel confident that effective help and support is available to me, now and as my condition develops, to help me live life as fully as possible.
  • I can access a range of services to enable me to remain at home as long as possible.
  • As a carer, I can access support, including training, to help cope with the ongoing role of caring for a person with dementia.
  • People who support me at home understand my condition, and know how to help prevent, modify or make adjustments to manage any behaviours that challenge.
  • People who support me help me to live as independently and actively as possible.
  • I can remain involved with friends and my community. I enjoy life.
  • My choices and preferences for living my life are respected and I am involved in decisions about my life.
  • I can access a range of information and guidance in the community about memory problems, and resources to support me and my family.

Progress update

Evaluation data is being used to open conversations with commissioners across neighbouring areas.